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Bookmark and Share Paper 3511

Prosodically Marked Mirativity
Jessica Rett and Beth Sturman
1-20 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Mirativity is the implicit encoding of speaker surprise or exceeded expectation (DeLancey, 1997). It is encoded using a variety of different strategies: morphologically, e.g., in sentence particles; polysemously, e.g., in mirative evidentials; syntactically, using focus fronting; and prosodically, in 'exclamation intonation'. The first goal of this paper is to motivate a unified semantic treatment of mirativity as it is encoded in a variety of ways across languages. The second goal is to apply the semantic treatment to English exclamation intonation as a case study. The details of this study suggest that there are several prosodic components to exclamation intonation in English, only one of which is clearly associated with the sememe of mirativity; the other features, we hypothesize, serve as optional, gradient markers of prosodic prominence.

Published in

Proceedings of the 37th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by D. K. E. Reisinger and Marianne Huijsmans
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00